What The 'It' Runtime Tells Us About The New Movie

Reporting on movie runtimes is an inherently silly thing. It's not really news, but let's face it: we're all curious about which superhero movie will test our bladder next, and we're all ready to start yelling into the void about why a movie about robots that turn into cars needs to be that close to three hours long. But sometimes, a movie's length can feel genuinely interesting and revealing, like when we learned that The Dark Tower was 95 minutes long and everyone started wondering why a movie based on a series of massive books was so short.

But we're here to talk about the other Stephen King adaptation hitting theaters in the coming months, which also comes packaged with some interesting runtime news. We now know how long Andy Muschietti's adaptation of It will run and it's certainly going to prove interesting to both Stephen King fans and horror buffs.

According to the British Board of Film Classification, It runs 135 minutes, putting it within spitting distance of two and a half hours. This is highly unusual for a horror movie, as you'll rarely find movies in the genre that run that long. The vast majority of them tend to fall in the 85 or 90-minute mark, favoring a lean and mean pace over, especially nuanced storytelling. There are significant, notable exceptions, but it's commonly understood that scary movies don't approach two hours. They get in, do their business, and get out.

So from a horror movie perspective, It is already interesting. This is the rare horror movie to go long really, and it'll be interesting to see if a film like this can maintain the energy necessary to fill out that runtime. After all, even some great horror films run out of steam at shorter lengths.

But as a Stephen King fan, this news can't help but feel promising. It isn't a great book because it's scary (although it is terrifying). It's Stephen King's most unnerving novel because of the level of unnerving detail and history. It's a masterpiece because the characters are so nuanced and real and their relationships feel so lived-in. It may be a 1,200-page book, but it earns every one of those pages. It's an exhausting, sometimes punishing experience, but you feel like you understand these people and their world when you finish it.

Of course, It only adapts half of the book, leaving the 27-years-later storyline for a potential sequel. Even so, the thought that one-half of this epic tome getting the 135-minute treatment makes me more hopeful than any trailer. This is evidence that Muschietti and his team are focusing on character and story in addition to the scares, building a movie that has the time and space to really explore the dynamic of this world during the scenes when the shape-shifting clown monster isn't murdering children.

As for the comparison between the It runtime and the Dark Tower runtime...well, I'm just going to borrow this tweet from ScreenCrush's Britt Hayes:

It opens on September 8, 2017.

Based on Stephen King's best-selling novel. A group of young kids face their biggest fears when they seek answers to the disappearance of children in their hometown of Derry, Maine. They square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.